Saturday, January 24, 2009

Not Any Other Saturday

Today was interesting.

David went hunting in Sedona and took Grace with him. He dropped her off at her cousin's to spend the night. Both she and Casey (said cousin) were so excited that neither of them slept last night, so I don't know how well their plans to stay up until 2AM will go.

Anyhoo, here I was with Jack, Henry, George, and Nina until 4:30.

Now, you may have gleaned that I've been spending a lot of one-on-one time with Jack lately.

Grace and I have many girly days where we go shopping, out to eat, or whatever. We've also gone on several trips together.

I spent the vast majority of Henry's life with him from the age of 4 months until he turned 3. He was receiving so much therapy outside the house and I was required to do so much inside the house that we were pretty much connected to one another for many years. Not surprisingly in hindsight, Jack (even at only 18 months) often acted as the therapist's "assistant" with Henry. The kid could totally fend for himself while Henry wouldn't touch food or move a limb to get anything he wanted, so I thanked God for Jack's self-sufficient nature and went to grab Henry a rattle. Or a Cheerio.

George, as I've mentioned, didn't cut the cord until he was 3 1/2. He now wants nothing to do with me, which is somewhat upsetting, but he's a bit of a "Daddy's Boy" these days. Truly, he was on my hip, like an interesting fashion accessory, for the first 3 1/2 years of his life.

And Nina, well, Nina is obviously with me most of the time these days.

So Jack has sort of gotten the shaft, as they say. And I'm greatly enjoying making it up to him.

The kid is so multi-faceted it's unbelievable. He's athletic and domestic and kind and funny.

This afternoon I asked him to go with me on a mountain bike ride into...can you guess...the mountains. Our neighbors told us about a trail up into the mountains behind our house that sounded fun.

Of course, he agreed.

On the way up the hill (the very steep hill), I hear him behind me profess, "I love my life."

Now, most 7-year-olds love a lot of things: their toys, Wii, days off from school, ice cream...

But to say, "I love my LIFE" as a 7-year-old?

I somehow doubt that happens all that often.

It was the most Zen statement he's ever made --- totally void of materialism --- and only focusing on how beautiful the day was, the fact that he was out enjoying it on his bike and, I like to think, the fact that we were out and about together.

So then we head up to this trail.

Now, let me preface all this by saying that I was not wearing a helmet. But I survived. Barely. And I wrote Liz Helmet on the Target list the minute we returned home. My dad will have a heart attack over this. But, like I said, I'm fine. Barely.

Now, when you're mountain biking with your 7-year-old (and looking muy cool with the baby seat on the back of your most fab Diamondback mountain bike that was given to you by your fab husband 11 years ago --- and hasn't been ridden know, because I got pregnant about 6 minutes after the gift was presented and stayed that way until...well...recently) and every 8 minutes or so that 7-year-old turns his head 180-degrees to the right to inquire, "Mom? You okay back there?" you start to feel a bit...well...old.

Then, we hit this huge downhill...all rocks...and, did I mention, I didn't have a helmet.

I told Jack, as we sat perched at the top of this very steep hill aware that there was nowhere to go BUT down, that this is why we wear helmets. So if you go over the handlebars and hit your head on a rock, the helmet protects your very delicate and important brain.

The whole way down I'm going, "Do not go over the handlebars. Do not go over the handlebars."

We made it, and Jack goes, "Mom, if we hit another hill like that, I'm going first. I think I need to test it for you. And do you have a CLUE where this path will end up?"

No sir. I do not.

So, another hill we hit and, as promised, Jack raised his hand and said, "Stop. I'm going first."

I truly felt like I was younger than he is.

So, after we made it down that hill (with the damn baby seat bouncing like mad the whole way down), Jack goes, "Mom, you really do need a helmet. Because if you fall and get hurt, I'll be lost."

"Jack, somehow I am quite confident that you would find your way home."

"Well, that's true," he confided. "But I wouldn't know what to do with your body."


I said, "Jack, this raises an excellent point. Next time we do this, I'm bringing (along with a helmet) my cell phone."

Jack says, "Yeah, you need to teach me how to use that. In case I have to get someone to come get your body."

Also lovely.

So, an hour later we finally arrived at an outlet from which I thought we could get home. And as we came up over the hill, we saw David, Nina, and George. David was like, "Good God - where did you come from?"

Jack answered, "Don't ask."

I love that I have 5 kids who are all SO different from one another that I can so clearly identify what it is about each of them that is special and unique. I can have 5 special and oh-so-different relationships at the same time. I know without doubt that two of them will scream at me for much of the day, two of them will be eager to go on any adventure with me, and one of them will do something amazing each day like clap or laugh or get a tooth.

As Jack said so well, I love my life.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Girl

Before I update on the Neenster (as George calls her), let me show you this fine image of my Jack. The other day, I asked Jack if he wanted to go to the mall with me. He darted upstairs to put on his new clothes AND style his hair.

Off to the mall we went. He learned very quickly how to spot a sale, and insisted on carrying all of my bags through the mall. He's 7!

He can just as quickly come home and grab his football and head outside for some throwing practice.

One day, he's going to be the best husband. He reminds me so much of David because he'll carry his wife's bags through the mall and then come home and sit down to the Superbowl. He's fantastic.

Henry will undoubtedly have to live with Jack forever since he refuses to pick up even a sock. In fact, he hung around all day the other day with only one sock on. Apparently, it was far too exhausting to find the other one (or take the one he was wearing off).

On to the Neenster. So, my girl spent most of yesterday under the end table in the family room. I don't know what this is all about, but I think she'll be a fort builder when she's 2.

She had her 9-month appt yesterday and she weighed in at 20 pounds, 12 ounces (80th percentile). She was 28" (70th percentile) and her head was in the 90th percentile (but, frankly, I think the nurse was challenged by the amount of hair Nina has, so it's possible that it's not quite as big as it measured).

She's doing great...crawling all OVER this house. She says "Mama" and "Hi" and will often clap when asked to clap. Her hair is finally beginning to grow down instead of out! Peek-A-Boo is by far her favorite game and she can often be heard just laughing at herself (or something!) for no reason whatsoever.

I truly never knew the joy I would feel being a mother to this gorgeous little girl! I am so thankful for her each and every second (though right now I'm really hoping she'll opt for a nap instead of continuing to yell "Mama" from her crib!)

Monday, January 12, 2009

A New 'Do for a New Year

If you could hear Nina right now you would die. She just sits on the floor and plays and sings to herself. We are all having SO much fun with her. She's just got the best disposition on earth and she's ALL OVER this house. Crawling everywhere.

Last night, David was trading baseball cards with the bigger kids (I don't know who's more excited about this, the kids or David) and Nina was crawling right into their stacks of cards.

Jack was so good about it. He'd just joke with her and pick her up and put her on the other side of the room. But by the time he got back to his spot, she was already there! He had a great attitude about it though. Good she chose him and not Henry.

Here are some pictures of a recent hairstyle I tried. I got the idea from my friend Aimee. Only took an hour, but thankfully if you put a bucket of toys in front of her, she'll sit for that long quite happily.

She also now does the sign for "more" and laughs at herself in the mirror in her crib all the time. It's hilarious.

As Uncle Michael says, "What up, yo?"

"Like my farm? Me too."

Details of the 'do

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A little humor...

Maybe it's just me, but I laugh every time I watch this...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Here is a photo from yesterday, when the temperature was 72. Don't you just want to butter her up and have her for dinner? She's so fantastic. And she has hardly any hair. If you want to see the photo bigger, just click on it.

Another uneventful New Year's Eve is behind us. David and I made it until 10:30; it was a record. I had to see Dick Clark, who is a staple of my New Year's Eves, and I did that. Anything beyond that was gravy.

Today the kids made New Year's Resolutions. They were interesting.

1. Play soccer, football and games with my family.
2. Play with Nina.

I suggested that he could perhaps agree to actually sit by me for 2 minutes per day. He declined.

1. Sit by mom when she's sick (?) and other stuff.
2. Stop screaming and yelling

The "sick" comment likely is because I have no voice today. The kids are thrilled.
I can't wait for #2 to become a reality.

1. Play lots of games with my family.
2. Spend 1/2 the year doing everything with Papa and then spend the other 1/2 of the year doing everything with Mama.
3. Do things with Mama. Because no one ever does anything with Mama.

Amen to #3.

1. Finish my novel, Amazing Amy
2. Make new friends
3. Get straight A+ on report card
4. Stop chewing with my lips open
5. Save more money

She's not at all an over-achiever.

I'm only making one resolution for myself because I'm smart enough to know, at the ripe age of 36, that even one may not make it to fruition. But it's to finish MY novel (of which I've written a whopping 4 pages).

Okay, I do have one more. I'd like to get good at my guitar, which I've owned for 2 whole weeks. I'm terrified even to get it out of the case lest I can't play like Eric Clapton within 24 hours.

David won't let me post his resolutions. But they are very "organic," I'll say that.

Here are some photos from Christmas Eve:

Grace won't let an opportunity to get matching outfits for her and her sister go by!

This is as close to me as George got this holiday season. He is showcasing his watch from Aunt Mollie and Uncle Gary which was the hit of the season. Little did they know he'd been BEGGING for his own watch! It goes everywhere with him.
The boys. This is how we now photograph our family without an extra around to capture all of us together: boys in one shot, girls in another. The boys are wearing their shark tooth necklaces from Fiji, compliments of Grandpa Bill! They love them, and the sharks' teeth are really sharp! (I hope they don't decide to use them as weapons anytime soon.)

Happy New Year everyone!!